Demand for Blue Apron's initial public offering, getting less than a hardy reception, Wednesday, pricing at $10 a share which is the bottom end of already lowered expectations. With a starting market valuation of under $2 billion, the online meal kit provider is being valued at less than it was during its last private fundraising two years ago.
There were signs Blue Apron was worried about fading investor demand earlier in the day, when it slashed the expected price range to between $10 and $11. The diminished appetite for this IPO is being seen as an early fall out for a new but quickly growing industry, that's preparing for a seismic shake up after Amazon's $13.7 billion offer to buy Whole Foods, a move which is likely to significantly boost Amazons ambitions in the food delivery business.
But that's not Blue Aprons only problem, the meal kit delivery business is costly. It lost $55 million last year, even though revenues doubled to $795 million. The cost to acquire new customers and build out its distribution network is eating up huge amounts of cash, and even if Amazon is slow in finding its way around the prepared food business, Blue Apron, as the number one US online meal kit company, still has no less than six competitors to fight off.
Blue Apron makes its market debut Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.